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How often do BBC people engage in prayer alone or with family? As you can see on the chart below, our recent discipleship survey indicated that 3/4 of the church engages regularly in prayer. 42% indicated they pray 4 or more days a week, 33% pray 1-3 days a week, and 25% never or rarely pray.

Prayer Engagement Chart

Personal prayer is an important part of life for Bentley Baptist.

Prayer and Our Spiritual Walk

Of those who prayed 4 or more days a week, not surprisingly, a majority felt they were growing in their walk with God and the rest were steady. Those who pray 1-3 days a week the numbers were half-half growing or steady with one or two admitting they were struggling in their walk. 

Everyone who reported they struggle in their spiritual walk also said they didn’t pray regularly (or read Scripture), but slightly over half those who don’t pray much feel they’re doing okay in their walk with God.

Perhaps this illustrates the principle, ‘correlation does not equal causation.’ Often when we’re feeling spiritually weak we pull back on spiritual practices, or we can ‘go through the motions’ without feeling any benefit.  

Nevertheless, there is a clear correlation between prayer and a strong spiritual walk, among respondents. This shouldn’t surprise us, numerous studies have shown that prayer helps people’s feeling of connection to God as well as their mental health. 

It’s no wonder the Bible commands us to pray! But I suspect most people who don’t pray already know this and aren’t trying to be deliberately disobedient! We go through seasons where life overwhelms us or we feel dry, and praying can be hard work or we just can’t find the time. What do we do?

Praying When Prayer is Tough

Just like human communication, there are different ways to pray. Start by finding something that energises you. Go into the bush or by the river and meditate, read a psalm aloud to God (I do this a lot), sing along to some worship music, find a prayer partner. You don’t have to take long, just a few minutes a day is a start. And perhaps most of all, like the disciples, ask Jesus to teach you to pray.

I believe God is calling us to a deeper prayer life, as a church. Although the survey didn’t include corporate prayer (because that’s easier to count), praying together is also a normal part of the Christian life and can encourage and teach us in our prayers. There is a prayer meeting every Sunday morning just before church, and we’ve launched a monthly Sunday evening prayer meeting - you’re invited to either, or both!